It now houses (since 2004) an elegant pousada, so you can't visit it unless you are a boarder! Its history is eloquent: built in 1567 in the shape of a pentagon to defend itself from Moorish pirates, the Spanish occupied it in 1583 after taking possession of the archipelago. During this terrible battle, 400 French joined the meagre Portuguese troops, who finally had to surrender. Sir Walter Raleigh attacked him fourteen years later, without the agreement of his commander, the Earl of Essex; legend has it that the two men almost fought a duel on the beach. After the departure of the Spanish in 1640, the fort slowly began to decline due to a lack of funds. Finally, as the last confrontation involving the fort of Santa Cruz, forces loyal to the liberal king Dom Pedro IV landed at night in Faial in November 1825, while Dom Miguel's absolutists had seized the island; after taking the fort, they were dislodged in the early morning and taken prisoner. This feat of arms, recalled by the king in 1833 when the constitutionalists finally overthrew the usurper, clearly reflects the historical importance of the fort. The front door was rebuilt in 1847. Its location is exceptional and made it a strategic point of defence against maritime attacks, but from the outside, you will unfortunately not see much of this beautiful building in the city of Horta (which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
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